The Windows of the First Presbyterian and Trinity Church
Christian churches used colored glass in windows as early as the 5th century and pictorial glass became known around the 10th century. As medieval architecture developed, stained glass assumed a structural and symbolic importance. The use of glass expanded as the Romanesque massiveness of the wall was eliminated. It was integrated with the lofty vertical elements of Gothic architecture, thus giving greater illumination.
Symbolically, it was regarded as a manifestation of divine light. In these transparent mosaics, Biblical history and church dogmas were portrayed with great effectiveness. Most of the people who worshiped in these sanctuaries were illiterate. Even the spoken word, the Latin Mass, was unintelligible to them. However, they could understand the stories, parables and lessons pictured in the windows. Resplendent in its material and spiritual richness, stained glass became one of the most beautiful forms of medieval artistic expression.
The First Presbyterian and Trinity Church is fortunate in that its windows carry on this artistic expression. Crafted almost int he same fashion as in medieval times, they combine the aesthetic and the instructive.
As you examine the windows, look closely at the workmanship, the variation of color and fine detail in each piece of glass. Each window has a story, and each window contains the Biblical reference to that story. So as not to interfere with the content of the window, the reference has been incorporated in a minor detail of the design and is easily overlooked. A few have been pointed out in the text.
The glass maker's name appears in only one window on each wall. These windows have also been pointed out in the text.
The windows in the sanctuary were dedicated in 1946.
THE PROPHET ROSE WINDOW
A reminder of our Old Testament heritage, this window shows Moses in the center with the tablets on which the Ten commandments are inscribed. Surrounding him are the following twelve prophets: at the top and continuing clockwise: Isaiah, Joel, Jonah, Jeremiah, Nahum, Malachi, Daniel, Hosea, Haggai, Ezekiel, Obadiah and Michah.
This window was a gift of the Women's Association of this church.
THE BASIC VIRTUES ROSE WINDOW
The center figure is St. Michael, symbol of protection and guide of the Church Militant. In Revelation, he is portrayed as a military leader in the war between God and Satan. Clockwise from the top are the Virtues basic to our faith: Sacrifice, Honor, Hope, Fortitude, Wisdom, Prayer, Loyalty, Love, Mercy, Justice, Forgiveness and valor.
This window was given by "Members and Friends of the First Presbyterian Church in honor of the men and women who served in the Second World War."
NEW TESTAMENT OR APOSTLES ROSE WINDOW
The center figure here is Christ seated in triumph. His right hand is raised in Trinitarian blessing. On His right is the first Greek letter, ALPHA and on His left, the last, OMEGA. Christ is the beginning and the end. Within the Omega is the monogram of Christ, "Chi-Rho", the first two letters in the Greek name Christos. Clockwise from the top are the twelve Apostles depicted with their traditional symbols: St. John, with a chalice representing Christ's cup of suffering; St. James The Greater, holding the pilgrim's staff with gourd; St. Paul, defender of the faith, shown with Sword; St. Andrew, showing the type of cross on which he was crucified; St. Matthew, with book and pen; St. Jude, with scroll representing his tireless preachings; St. Simon, holding a saw, symbol of his trade; St. James The Lesser, with fuller's bat, symbol of his trade; St. Bartholemew, with knife referring to his death; St. Thomas, with a spear which refers to his death; St. Philip, holding a tall slender cross.
This window was a gift of Albert G. Borden as a memorial to the Borden family.
SOUTH ORANGE AVENUE WINDOWS
- MOSES RECEIVING THE TEN COMMANDMENTS FROM GOD (Exodus 20:1-17)
This symbolizes God giving his law to the new nation of Israel. at the top: (Exodus 17.3) "Behold I will stand before you on the rock of Horeb, and you shall strike the rock and water shall come out that the people may drink." On the bottom: (Exodus 3.2) "and the Angel of the Lord appeared to him (Moses) in a flame of fire, out of the midst of a bush, - - yet it was not consumed."
- ELIJAH ON MT. CARMEL CONTENDING WITH THE PROPHETS OF BAAL (1 Kings 1:18)
Illustrates the fight of the early Prophets against Israel's worship of other Gods and proclaims that Jehovah is the one and only God. At the bottom is the red mantle of Elijah which was inherited by Elisha.
- GOD CALLING THE BOY SAMUEL TO BE A PROPHET (1 Samuel 3:10-14)
"The Lord came, stood and called Samuel and he answered, "Speak for thy servant heareth." The Priest Eli is in the background asleep. Pointing down is the hand of God. At the top, the seven branched candlestick represents Old Testament worship. At the bottom, the scroll represents Old Testament law. (The biblical reference can easily be found in this window. It's below the figure and to the right of a scroll which runs across some leaves.)
- THE FAMILY WINDOW (Ruth 1:16)
Pictures of the Gentile Ruth and her Hebrew mother-in-law Naomi. Following the death of her husband, Ruth chose to accompany Naomi to Bethlehem, rather than return to her people. The wisp of wheat at the top is the symbol for Ruth. At the bottom, the clasped hands of friendship with the tree of faith and life.
- ISAIAH IN THE TEMPLE (Isaiah 6:6)
Here the Prophet Isaiah encounters God in the temple. The six winged Seraphim stands over him. The burning coal from the alter symbolizing Gods forgiveness touches Isaiah's lips. God asks "Who will go for us?" and Isaiah said "Here am I, send me." On the bottom, a symbol for Isaiah. His death was reputed to have been by being sawed in two.
- THE NATIVITY WINDOW (Luke 2:7)
Tells of the birth of Christ. The star of Bethlehem and the star of Ephiphany at the top symbolize the Nativity and the spread of the Gospel to the Gentiles. The shepherd's staff and lilies at the bottom represent Christ as Good Shepherd and resurrected Lord.
(Henry Keck Glass Studio reference can be found in the narrow border on the bottom of this window to the left.)
- THE BOY CHRIST (Luke 2:42-52)
The boy Christ is shown here in the temple learning from the elders in preparation for his Bar Mitzva. Note Mary and Joseph on the right. On the top, the descending dove represents the Holy Spirit. On the bottom, the lamp of wisdom and the word of God.
On your way to window number nine, take another look at the large rose window in the back of the sanctuary, The Basic Virtues to Our Faith Window.
- CHRIST HEALING THE BLIND (John 9:6)
"He made clay of the spittle and anointed the eyes of the blind man --"This illustrates not only the miracles int he New Testament but also that Christ opens the eyes of all people to his truths. On the top, the shield of faith and the olive branch symbol of healing. On the bottom, the cross, potent symbol of the Savior's power to heal the diseases of men's bodies and souls. (The Biblical reference in this window can be found in the blue leaf area under the ankle of the figure kneeling on the left.)
(This window also contains the glass studio reference in the lower right border.)
- THE GOOD SAMARITAN WINDOW (Luke 10:30-34)
Relates the familiar parable of Jesus. "A man on his way to Jericho was robbed and stripped and beaten. He was left half dead and a priest saw him and pass him by; and likewise a Levite. But a Samaritan saw him, bound his wounds, and took him to an inn and took care of him." In the background, the Priest and Levite who passed him by. The foreground shows the Samaritan and the man for whom he cared. At the top, the red rose, a symbol for love. On the bottom, the cross of salvation on a base of faith, hope and charity. The crowns signify eternal life. The palm branch is for victory over sin and death.
- CHRIST BLESSING THE CHILDREN (Luke 18:16)
The Alpha and Omega at the top remind us that Jesus, as Lord, is the beginning and the end. They are suspended from the Chi-Rho monogram. The lilies on the bottom symbolize resurrection.
- THE LAST SUPPER (Matthew 26:20-29)
"Jesus took bread, blest it, broke it, and gave it to the disciples saying 'take, eat, this is my body broken for you'. In like manner he took the cup after supper saying 'this cup is the new covenant in my blood - drink ye all of it.'" Note Judas running away with the money bags. At the top, a pelican giving its own blood for its young, symbol of sacrifice. At the bottom; grapes and wheat representing the Eucharest, the earliest title for the Sacrament and symbol of bread and wine. (The biblical reference in this window is very cleverly incorporated in the leg of the chair occupied by the figure on the right, next to the vertical with the circles.)
- OUR SAVIOR IS IN GETHSEMANE (Matthew 26:20-29)
"O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me, nevertheless, not as I will, but as Thou will." Note the three disciples who went into the garden with Him and fell asleep while watching and praying. At the top, The crown of thorns and the cross with INRI on it, a passion emblem, standing for the Latin words meaning Jesus of Nazaereth, King of the Jews. At the bottom, the Cross of suffering rises from a jeweled chalice.
- THE RESURRECTION WINDOW (Mark 16:9)
"Now when Jesus was risen early int eh first day of the week, He appeared first to Mary Magdalene." The three crosses (Background) symbolize Calvary now conquered. At the bottom, the bursting pomegranate represents the power of our Lord who burst the tomb on Easter Day and came forth alive.
- THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD WINDOW (John 8:12)
A partial reproduction of Holman Hunt's painting "I Am the Light of the World." "He that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life." At the top, the candle represents Jesus Christ, the light of the world, its rays shining down on the world. At the bottom, the church founded on Jesus Christ and built on a rock. (NOTE: Holman Hunt's painting is inspired by Revelation 3:20; "Behold I stand at the door and knock. If any man hear My voice and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him." In the painting, Christ brings a twofold light, the lantern, the light of conscience and the light in Christ's face, the hope of salvation; thus, He stands at the door of every human's heart asking admittance.)
- THE COMMISSIONING OF THE APOSTLES (Matthew 10:5)
"These twelve Jesus sent forth"; "Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost." Notice the lame and blind who are in need of healing. At the top, the Bible, the word of fortitude, and the palm branches for martyrdom. The ship at the bottom is on a turbulent sea, representing the Church tossed by story waves. (The Biblical reference here can be found below the figure on the right, under his ankle in the light brown color.)
- ST. PETER holding the Keys of the Kingdom.
- ST JOHN with a quill and a scroll on which are written the opening words of his Gospel. The poison cup and serpent at the top are early symbols depicting the story of an unsuccessful attempt to poison John.
- ST PAUL holds the Bible and sword of the spirit.
- THE MARYS - On the left, Mary, Mother of Jesus. On the right Mary Magdalene holding the flask of ointment with which she anointed Jesus. The descending dove, symbol of the Holy Spirit is on the top (Henry Keck Studio reference is in the lower right border.)
- ENGLISH "CRUSADE" WINDOW
Also known as the "King's Window", it is an English hand painted stained glass window and the only one not created by the Henry Keck Studios. It depicts a thirteenth century scene of King Louis IX of France kneeling before a statue of the Christ Child and His mother, Mary, prior to his leaving on the sixth crusade to the Holy Land. Originally in the Kip-Riker mansion on Scotland Road, purchased by Temple Israel of the Oranges and Maplewood, it was given to this church in gratitude for offering our facility during the renovation period. A plaque below the window commemorates the event. This window was formally dedicated on December 10, 1950.
The narthex windows were dedicated on May 13, 1951.
Stained glass windows, much like other art forms are done on commission. Scaled water color drawings detailing the ideas, symbols and figures to be depicted are shown to the client. Once approved, the many processes required to "build" a stained glass window begin. First, a full size black and white drawing is made, called a cartoon. Several paper patterns are traced from it. One is cut into numbered pieces much like a picture puzzle. A double bladed scissor cuts them smaller than they should be to allow for the lead strip which goes between the glass pieces. Each piece of glass is cut from these patterns and assembled on one of the other full scale uncut patterns.
Each piece of glass is them put in its proper place on the cartoon and the designs under the glass are traced in paint on them. The paint is fired into the glass with 1200 degree heat in a kiln.
Next, the pieces are coated with paint and an artist goes over each one with a brush and other tools, scraping the paint off to create shading and high lights.
After being fired again, the pieces are attached to each other by strips of lead, soldered at the joints, then cemented for water proofing and reinforced with metal bars.
This was the procedure used by the Henry Keck Studios for the windows in this church. Although some of the tools have been improved, the process is identical to that developed in the 12th century, when glass was first infused with vibrant colors of precious jewels and pieced together to make sparkling mosaics.
Henry Keck came to America as a boy and worked at the Tiffany Studios in New York City with his father. He became impatient with the mechanical routine of cutting, glazing and installing windows and returned to Germany to study art. He returned, working as a stained glass artist in studios around the country and in 1913 established his own studio in Syracuse, New York.
The following churches in New York contain Keck Studio windows: St. Ann's Catholic, Binghamton; St. Eustace Episcopal, Lake Placid: St. Michael's Lutheran, Canillus; Oxford Methodist in Oxford; and in Syracuse, a memorial window in his honor at the First Presbyterian Church.
The windows described herein were all donated as gifts to The First Presbyterian and Trinity Church. Because of the generosity of the people listed below, these everlasting and beautiful works of art are here. Opposite each window number is the donor's name followed by the names of those who were honored.
- Miss Alice Ross - Emily and Theophilus Ross
- Mr. & Mrs. Thomas H. Benton - The Reverend Andrew S. Zimmerman
- Mr. & Mrs. Frederick E. Lober - Frederick Edward Lober Jr.
- Mr. Walter A. Stiefel - Antonie L. P. Stiefel
- Mrs. & Mrs. William Steinen - Anna and Frederick Rummer and Berth and Hugo von den Steinen
- Mr & Mrs. Laurence E. Carpenter Jr. - Julia King Norris and Laurence E. Carpenter Sr.
- Mr. & Mrs. Robert G. NcKeown and son Samuel - Robert G. McKeown Jr.
- Mrs. Elizabeth W. Lee - Harry George Lee
- Mrs. Carl W. Wiley and sons Carl and Frank - Carl Wonderly Wiley
- Mr. Albert G. Borden - Julia and Lucy Whittemore
- Mr. & Mrs. H. H. Hoyt - Frank and Susan Hoyt
- Mrs. Herbert N. Farrington - Herbert Nelson Farrington
- Mrs. Chester L. Blauvelt - Chester Leroy Blauvelt
- Mrs. John M. Walker and Thomas D. Miller - Flora Van Pelt Miller
- Mrs. Kate Good Orcutt - Anna and Frances Good
- Mrs. Ernest Eille - Mary Wiss Ungrich
- Mr. & Mrs. C. Edgar Champenois - Ida Frank Willcox
- Mr. & Mrs. Laurence R. Forrest - Lt. Laurence R. Forrest Jr.
- Mrs. Howard Saylor - Howard D. Saylor
- Leslie W. Snow Family